Landmark Bay St. Louis Home Demolished

A big piece of Bay St. Louis history was crushed and hauled away this week.

The Webster Family's 1889 gothic style Queen Ann Victorian home was a landmark on the beach front for more than 114 years. The seven bedroom home stood on the tallest beach front bluff between Alabama and Texas - that is before Hurricane Katrina came along.

"This is an American tragedy," Sherrye Webster said.

Webster and her husband were the last owners of the house. When crossing the Bay Bridge, it was the most visible home along the beach. For Webster, seeing it demolished stirs up a lot of emotion.

"I'm just really sad. I just feel like my whole life is being bulldozed."

But that sadness turned to joy as the demolition crew found a container full of some of her son's first toys.

"Yes! That's what I wanted. My house was full of antiques but the thing that was most important to me is the things you can't replace like your child's toys."

The Webster's purchased the house six years ago. They spent four years and a lot of money renovating it, and opened their doors several times for fundraising tours.

"This house brought a lot of good to the community. We raised $10,000 for St. Rose Delima, we raised $10,000 for the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. We were always happy to open up the house because people wanted to come to the house," Webster said.

"I'm very sorry. I tried to save it because when we leave this planet or move on, we are only keepers of these old important pieces of history. It's so sad. We've lost so much on the Gulf Coast to Katrina."

In Bay St. Louis alone, the city lost nearly 300 of the 576 homes listed on the National Registry of Historic Places - a fact that breaks the hearts of those who came out to watch the demolition.

"It's just sad to think that all of that. That 50 percent of those houses are not here anymore and that chunk of history is just gone," Kristin Beima, a volunteer from Washington State, said.

"I feel privileged to have lived here and privileged to have lived in the house," Webster said.

The Webster Family has relocated to Tennessee and hasn't decided what they'll do with their vacant beach front property.

by Al Showers